Five people were killed, and 24 more were injured during a 10-hour siege by five Islamic State gunmen at the Save the Children headquarters in Jalalabad, Afghanistan on Wednesday. The assailants, who were all killed during the attack, stormed the offices after detonating an explosion outside.
Save the Children is a global charity that provides aid to 120 countries. In a statement released via Twitter, it said that all Afghanistan operations have been halted, but will resume as soon as possible.
The Afghanistan affiliate of the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack via their news outlet, Amaq News Agency.
A spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar Province, which includes Jalalabad, said that three of the victims who died were Save the Children employees, one was an Afghan commando, and the fifth was a tailor who worked across the street. He also confirmed 24 injured civilians.
The province’s governor, Mohammed Gulab Mangal, also spoke about the attack. “We could have ended the operation in the morning and killed all the attackers, but there were more than 45 civilians and employees trapped inside… All those employees were rescued to safety.”
Save the Children employees said they all headed for the office’s safe room once they heard the explosion outside, and were trapped there until 7 p.m.
This is the most recent in a series of attacks on aid organization in Afghanistan spanning over the last few years. The Red Cross recently closed multiple offices in the region due to repeated threats and attacks.
There has also been an increase in violence and terrorism targeting civilians in recent weeks. Last Saturday, the Taliban targeted a hotel in Kabul, killing at least 22 people and holding the capital hostage throughout 15 hours of conflict.